Monday, July 29, 2013

Expecting | Dear Baby

Capt. Woodrow Call

Dear Baby,

Spiders are making webs in bathroom sinks and across tall grass.  The tom cats spread out on long bellies and backs on the deck.  (I fill their water bowls twice daily.)  We're surprised by rain, but my poor potted patchouli is barely holding on.  I clumsily peel kiwis and wait for you.

It's difficult to concentrate on reading.  It's difficult to get dressed in the morning, and difficult to motivate myself to stand in front of a camera and mark these last (I hope) days of carrying you inside me--not because my belly does not make me proud, but because it is awfully heavy, or you in it are awfully heavy.  Four pounds gained in one week according to the scale at the midwives', and it's all you, bub.  Though, as enormous as I feel, strangers still comment on how "small" I look, completely flummoxed that I'm due to birth you on July 31st, and not some later month.  

Two days until our due date, but then, those dates are somewhat arbitrary.  Your cousin Ella was born five days early; your dear mama here was born a week late.  But still, each morning I say to your papa, enthusiastically, hopefully, "maybe I'll go into labor today!"  Well, every morning but this specific one, when your father left for work before the sun rose and I only managed to mumble sleepily, "I love you. Drink lots of water today," as he kissed my cheek goodbye.  

As much as I try to respect your time, baby love, I am so eager to see you.  We all are.  Your great-grandma called the day of my last midwife appointment, Friday, to ask, "Any news!?", thinking perhaps I may be dilated and ready.  Your grandma Sandra left a bag full of cloth diapers and other odds and ends on the porch yesterday afternoon while we were out.  I've been surprised by a few Braxton Hicks contractions, but nothing substantial.  I'm considering taking up mall walking if you don't make your debut in the next few days.  I'll try my damnedest to just walk you right out of me, but in the air conditioning and while window shopping for clothes that I can neither fit into nor afford at the moment--all those neon colors are still en vogue, and I do love them so.

In short, here I am, willing you to please come soon, baby.  And, while I'm at it, please stop jamming that foot into my ribs.

I love you, and I want you here, on the outside, where I can kiss your little face and hands and feet freely and hold you to my skin the way I keep dreaming of holding you.

Thorn Rex

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Thankful Thursday | Cool Aunts

photos via Ashley
I love my girlfriends.  That's how my grandma always announced a phone call for me when I was a teenager; "Michelle, your girlfriend's on the phone!"  I love them as individuals, and I love them as women, and I love that we've been in each other's lives for so long.  I hate only that adult life has scattered us (continues to scatter us as Ashley just announced she'll be moving to Wilmington at the end of the year).  Selena, fun-sized, her signature color red, was the first friend I made after moving to North Carolina in the 6th grade.  Siobhan, six feet tall and newly emancipated, wearing three inch heels to boot, I met the following year.  Ashley, with her pineapple pendant and that accent that won't quit, I met the year after.  And, we've been in each other's lives, in one way or another, ever since.  I am so comforted by that fact, so proud of it, so in awe of these ladies and everything they've accomplished--degrees, careers, babies, travels.

We had dinner together on Saturday, for the last time before I add a number to our bunch, a little mini baby shower, which I honestly was not expecting.  As Ashley wrote on Facebook, "this baby's gonna have the coolest aunts!"  One thing I've been continually awed by throughout this pregnancy is the amount of love and blessings and well wishes that have been showered on this baby.  How extraordinary to come into the world already anticipated and loved so much.  And how lucky this baby is to have such a vast, diverse "family", including so many cool aunts--role model women, who've touched my life so deeply, and who inspire me always.

The night in February when I announced my pregnancy (with Siobhan's adorable minime, Jade). Photo via Selena.
Selena, Michelle, Ashley, & Siobhan--days before high school graduation.  Photo via Selena.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Expecting | 36 Weeks

"Probably one of the most private things in the world is an egg before it is broken." - M.F.K. Fisher

I keep calling the baby a "he."  I'll say something absently like, "He's got a foot wedged in my ribs," and a co-worker, or a family member, or a friend will say, "He?" knowing full (and frustratingly) well that I have no way to back up that pronoun.  We don't know if this is a boy, we've just got this feeling.

The night I found out I was pregnant (and rushed out of the bathroom with tears in my eyes to tell Wolfman in a voice that nearly failed me the news), he drew a masculine rune at random from his hand-sewn leather bag and announced, "it's a boy."  About a month later, I was at the library perusing the spirituality shelves and Wild Things: The Art of Nurturing Boys nearly jumped off the shelf at me; it had clearly been misplaced, and stood proudly next to Deepak Chopra, cover out, as if waiting just for me.  When Sierra Dawn found out she was having a girl, she and Grandma looked at me over a Chinese buffet lunch saying, "You're having a boy," both so firm, I didn't argue with their mystical logic.  

I'm carrying low.  And a stranger on the bus one day leaned over me as he got off at his stop and said, "You take care of that little man in there," pointing at my belly.

We're not leaving the gender up to surprise and speculation on purpose.  The search for unisex infant clothing is an arduous one, after all.  We simply decided that an ultrasound didn't seem necessary, and one of our midwives (my favorite at the birth center, actually, the woman I hope is on call when I'm in labor) agreed with us.  She said, cheerily, "It's not!"  And that was that.

But when this baby is so big and so close, it feels like he (or she!) is here already in a way, a part of our lives viscerally, it's hard to not know for certain.  I'd like to call him (or her!) by name.  We already have them picked out, the names--have had for months now.

We had another appointment at the birth center this morning and, once again, everything--womb size, baby's heart beat, blood pressure, hemoglobin count--is just on-the-dot perfect.  I guess in light of that, boy or girl doesn't really matter.


Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Photo Journal, no. 58 | Ella, 2 months, 10 days

Ella's a little skeptical of anyone who's not her mom these days.  But, oh to prop her up on my big belly and smell that strawberry blonde baby hair, and to have that little hand squeezing my finger tight, and those long eyelashes, that funny little side-eyed look she gives.  I'm in love.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Grilling with Friends in Senses

Seeing | The Dark Crystal, muted, on the television screen as Wolfman & Justin (the Metal Commander) jam | a micro Hulk toy standing guard on a desert of beige sofa | Eric's toy guitar proudly displayed on the stand with his dad's bass guitars

Smelling | woodsmoke | beer | the oncoming and aftermath of rain

Feeling | the sting and itch of ant bites on my toes | Justin's bass vibrating the floor under my feet

Hearing | Eric's wild giggles as his mama tickles him | a reunited Black Sabbath booming out the open window

Tasting | happy cow burgers grilled by my man, with just a hint of worcestershire | grocery-store tiramisu after a long, emotional day
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